Tuesday marks the end of summer vacation as about 100,000 Ottawa students head back to school.
Nepean resident Vanessa Pietrantonio, 12, is excited about entering Grade 7 at Frank Ryan.
“I’m looking forward to the new teachers, the new kids and stuff, but I’m kind of sad that I have to go back,” she said, laughing.
“I was happy with my ‘relax and wake up at 11 and do nothing all day.’”
Pietrantonio and her sister Jenna, 15, were shopping at the Rideau Centre on Labour Day.
“We’ve been off all summer, yet we’ve let it wait this long to get running shoes and jeans,” said their mom, Lisa, adding her eldest daughter, 17, was “smart enough” to stock up on Sunday.
All four will be back in the classroom: the older girls are returning to high school at St. Pius, and Lisa is an elementary school teacher with the Catholic board.
As they got ready to navigate more crowds, Lisa Pietrantonio outlined her strategy.
The game plan is to “keep them happy and within my budget,” she said.
“I sort of steer them toward the stores that I know are in our price point and then I bribe them. So I’ll say, forget the Forever 21 and I’ll take you to lunch.”
Over at Ginette Dominique’s home in the east end, she’s thinking less about lunch and more about the logistics on Tuesday morning — her daughter’s first day of high school.
“She’s 14 and it’s her first time with the bus pass, first time traveling alone,” Dominique said.
Dominique will ride with her and then continue on to work — but isn’t sure what time she’ll arrive.
Revised routes on city buses kicked in Sunday and Dominique says it’s a hectic time for such a major change.
“(The) whole week is going to be a mess for everybody,” she said.
Bus riders aren’t the only ones who might be held up during their commutes — drivers can get ready for hundreds of yellow school buses to hit the streets again.
Across the river in Gatineau, though, they’ve had time to adjust.
Corinne Goupil, 9, lives in Limbour and went back to school about one week ago.
“It was great,” said her mom, Nathalie.
The Grade 4 student said her favourite subject is science because “it’s not boring.”